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À la tous - 100%

IndividualThought, September 4th, 2013

To begin, let me say: the wait was gruesome. We all waited for this album for some time, and, as if planned to rile our senses, they released each group of movements one after another, usually months between each release. I'd say this was a rather effective tactic, it kept me wanting more and more.

Anarchic is an album that has everything you could ever want. The first four movements, Anarchic I-IV, are some of the best black metal/experimentation you'll ever hear. It begins with a droning guitar technique, many of you will be familiar with if you're interested in this album, fading in and out. Really hypnotic in nature. More than three minutes in, vocals are heard. Brace yourself; cleans. Beautiful, and ominous cleans. Fantastic in every aspect; they feel very distant and suit the background ambiance well, which now is evolving into some acoustic guitar picking. There's a sort'a epic feel to this part of the album. Almost like you're floating in some wooded area, which I'm sure Skagos is trying to achieve. More than six minutes in, the black metal begins...

The riffing here is fantastic, tremolo picking and bombastic, fast drumming. The cleans disappear and are replaced by some powerful screaming and growling. Here is where it just gets insane. This part is really reminiscent of the Cascadian black metal scene, drawing influences from bands like WitTR, Alda and Ash Borer. May be the best Cascadian black metal I've heard. I like how the album even has the audacity to go from being lighthearted and soft, to bursts of energy that baffle your ears. Further along, you begin to hear an almost orchestrated choir voice under the main vocals, really adds a nice touch. At 17 and a half minutes in, you begin to hear a movement that's very reminiscent of your neighborhood post-rock band with shoegaze-esque vocals to fatten the cake. A fantastic interlude to what's about to occur next.

Is that Björk? Why do I hear Björk? Björk? Jónsi? No.

The hell, that's not Björk. That's Skagos. I thought it was a bit too masculine...

V-VII is a bit on the formulaic side. Here we see the band going back to their roots. Ambiance galore, ritual-esque, nocturnal festivities, post-rock and atmospheric black metal à la Ást. The vocals are just exceptional here, whispered growling almost imitating some demonic presence harboring atavistic thoughts. Minimal amounts of punk-ish tribal drumming can be heard, which is always a plus. The last 10 minutes bring us full circle with almost everything thrown into the mix, it even gets a tad doom-laden. What a way to finish.

Skagos is one of those bands that everyone and anyone can find something they like within, from the metalhead in you, to the gallant post-rocker, to the person that finds ambient to be mesmerizing, or to the folk enthusiast in you (I know he's/she's in there.); it's all here: ambient, atmospheric black metal, post-rock, churning, varied vocals filled with anger and contempt, folk music and hatred, Björk-ish passages, nature worshiping riffs; the works, pretty much everything you'd expect from the makers of the masterpiece Ást. I give it a strong 100% and it's my contender for album of the decade.